January 14, 2003
ABC News Brings Audio To The Forefront
Good audio is crucial. Producers of such news magazine shows as Good Morning America and 20/20 rely on audio to bring across the dialogue and, when appropriate, live music. At The Times Square Studios, Ltd. (TSSL) we have created the audio control rooms necessary for this important job.
The main audio control room that serves the two-floor TSSL facility—-home of Good Morning America (GMA)—is built around a 48-fader Solid State Logic Aysis Air digital console. This console was stipulated because we wanted to maintain a digital audio throughput while having a reliable console to handle all the various audio feeds necessary for this level of production. Additionally, the flexibility provided by the Aysis Air allows us to easily route audio to the main ABC Network studios uptown, on West 66th Street.
As each show progresses from segment to segment, the Aysis Air handles all kinds of different feeds. TSSL utilizes remotes from all over the world, including live microphones on the set, music feeds from its API-equipped live music control room, and a production music mix room based on a Sony DMX-E3000 digital console. The advantage of the Aysis Air is the different audio scenarios that can be saved in the console’s folder of set-ups, allowing the engineers to react quickly and seamlessly to changes within a show. From a facility standpoint, TSSL can switch from GMA and go into 20/20 or another project very quickly.
TSSL runs the main control room with Genelec 1031A sound monitors. As part of the equipment strategy, it purchased a Yamaha digital console as an emergency backup for the Aysis Air, but hasn’t had any occasion to use it.
At TSSL, we decided to create an additional control room based on an API Legacy Plus console to serve the needs of the live bands we have as guests. In the past, performers such as Rod Stewart or Placido Domingo would bring in a remote audio truck to mix the band. We purchased the Legacy to eliminate the need for the remote truck and to be able to control everything in-house. The analog audio is converted and put onto the AES/EBU house router. The 2-mix from the API can then be routed to the Aysis Air. TSSL routes everything digitally through coax.
TSSL maintains a direct AES/EBU connection to ABC Network, with 53 southbound AES/EBU 2-channel digital audio ties, 116 southbound analog audio ties, 16 northbound AES/EBU 2-channel digital audio ties, and 64 northbound analog audio ties. We run two 100 base-T Ethernet network lines, two 10 base-T, five 9600 baud bidirectional data lines, fifteen 422 serial data lines, one 750- Mhz MATV transmission line, and a variety of basic rate ISDN Telco voice/data lines.
To accomplish the massive audio chores associated with each show, GMA uses two engineers on the sessions. One mixes the show and the other routes to the audio console. This is needed because they are constantly changing feeds into the console, especially on heavy news days, when there are many different remotes coming in from around the world.The audio setup is very important because most of the information that gets transferred to the public is done through audio. The on-air personalities are more or less static in terms of motion. From a facility point of view, the audio systems we provide go beyond the console to encompass everything from the IFB earpiece that the reporter wears, to wireless microphones, to the intercom systems, bringing GMA and 20/20 high-quality, dependable audio.